CyberWatch 101 By Robert Genest, former SSCA Board Member
What is CyberWatch?
CyberWatch’s main mission is to prevent home burglaries in South Shores. It does this by bringing the old neighborhood watch system into the digital age. It is not a social media website. It is a responsive email link between us and the LAPD.
CyberWatch was created five years ago in response to a sharp increase in South Shores break-ins. This rise in burglaries resulted from a Federal mandate to reduce prison overcrowding. It soon became clear that South Shores residents had to either adapt to changing times or become the next burglary victims.
Since then, CyberWatch has grown steadily through word of mouth, from neighbor to neighbor. Today, over 400 South Shores homes participate in this vital community effort with more residents joining CyberWatch each month.
Is CyberWatch making a difference?
In 2013, there were 17 home burglaries recorded in South Shores. Thanks to CyberWatch, home break-ins dropped to 3 the following year. Since then burglaries have ranged from 3 to 4 a year. This result would not have been possible without the increased vigilance of CyberWatchers and our strong partnership with the LAPD. Senior Lead Officer Elliot Rubright and Harbor LAPD Captain Michael Oreb have been our highly dedicated and effective LAPD contacts and allies in this past year.
How does CyberWatch work?
First, all CyberWatch members are notified immediately via email whenever a break-in occurs in South Shores. The information includes important details of the break-in. These details have taught us how burglars operate and how to better protect our homes.
Secondly, CyberWatchers email suspicious activity, individuals and vehicles to the Block Captain. These reports are immediately forwarded to key LAPD contacts for investigation and entry into the Burglary Division’s database. Then, license plate numbers are researched for the car’s registered owners, addresses and possible criminal records for LAPD follow up. Such reports have paid off several times. Of course, if a CyberWatcher observes a burglary in progress or about to take place, they should dial 911.
How can I join CyberWatch?
It’s simple. And, it’s free. Become a CyberWatch member and join this growing community effort. Just fill out the following form below to join. Your personal information will be kept confidential and used for emergency purposes only. It will not be shared with anyone without your permission. More CyberWatch members in our community means a safer South Shores for all of us to enjoy. Again, many thanks to all those CyberWatchers who have helped South Shores into safer harbor!